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Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said after his No. 14 Cardinals struggled to put away a tough Grand Canyon team on the road had some kind – and hyperbolic – words to say about the atmosphere.
“This, in college basketball in my 40 plus year, was the toughest crowd I’ve ever faced,” he said.
Umm, but Rick, you’ve coached in the Big East and the ACC! This was tougher than any of those crowds?
“Whether we go to Duke, Kentucky, nothing was as tough as that crowd tonight,” he said.
That seems like a bit much, but to be fair, the atmosphere there was, shall we say, lit:
This is what you don’t try to take charges.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley knew the Rams were in for a tough one against Providence, which had won the matchup of cross-state rivals six straight times.
He didn’t see this coming, though.
Kyron Cartwright, who had made four 3-pointers all season, hit four of five from beyond the arc in the first half. The Providence point guard finished with 19 points and eight assists to lead the Friars to a 63-60 victory over No. 21 Rhode Island on Saturday.
“That’s sports, and that’s the type of thing that makes coaches go gray and lose their hair,” Hurley said after his team lost for the third time in four games. “Four 3-pointers in seven games and he made four today – all in the first half.”
Rodney Bullock scored 17 points for the Friars (6-2). Cartwright had 15 in the first half and Jalen Lindsey scored nine of his 13 points in the second, five during a 7-0 run that erased a seven-point deficit.
“My teammates were telling me, `You need to take those shots to open up the defense,”‘ Cartwright said. “(And) we don’t shoot the ball to not make it.”
Hassan Martin had 14 points and 17 rebounds for Rhode Island (5-3), which lost at unranked Valparaiso and Providence a week after falling to No. 1 Duke. E.C. Matthews scored nine points and went 1 for 8 from 3-point range, airballing a 3 with 2 seconds left with a chance for the Rams to tie it.
“Games like this might help us down the stretch,” Martin said. `’So you just tell everybody to keep their head up.”
The Rams led 47-40 with 12:15 left when Cartwright’s arm appeared to catch Christion Thompson in the left eye. Thompson went to the court, flailing his arms in the air looking for a call, but the teams played on until Lindsey hit a 3-pointer to make it a four-point game at 11:00.
Lindsey’s free throws brought the Friars within two points, and Ryan Fazekas scored on a fast-break goaltending call to tie it. From there, there were three more ties and kept the game within one possession until Lindsey hit a fallaway jumper with 43 seconds left to give Providence a 59-55 lead.
“We beat a tournament team today,” Providence coach Ed Cooley said.
It will be difficult for Rhode Island to stay in The Associated Press Top 25 after its stumbles.
Hurley said he isn’t concerned.
The goal at the beginning of the season was to win the Atlantic 10 and play in the NCAA Tournament.
That’s all still in play.
“We expect to have a long and great season. Nothing’s changed for us,” he said. “We lost two tough road games in a long season.”
Bullock scored a career-high 36 points against New Hampshire on Wednesday, but he missed all three shots from the field in the first half and had only three points on six free throws at the break.
Cooley told him not to worry about the shooting and to try to make something happen with rebounding or defense.
“Somebody coming of a great scoring game like he did there’s going to be a lot of attention on him,” Cooley said. “I thought he showed some definite grit in the second half.”
Rhode Island: Martin hit all three of his 3-point attempts in the first half. … Martin surpassed the 1,000-point milestone against Valparaiso on Tuesday. … The Rams have lost nine straight to Big East teams.
Providence: The Friars lead the all-time series 73-56, including a buzzer-beating victory last year in Kingston. … They are 1-1 against ranked teams this season, having lost to then-No. 7 Virginia on Nov. 26.
Rhode Island: Hosts Old Dominion on Tuesday.
Providence: Hosts Brown on Tuesday.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Butler coach Chris Holtman looked troubled as he addressed the media on Saturday.
Kelan Martin finished with 30 points and six rebounds, and Tyler Wideman added 10 points and 10 rebounds, and the 18th-ranked Bulldogs defeated Central Arkansas 82-58.
Still, despite the 24-point blowout win, Holtman’s disappointment in himself and his players was written all over his face, clearly weighing heavily on his mind.
Holtman, who is in his third season as Butler’s coach, noted that Central Arkansas bothered the Bulldogs (8-0) in a lot of ways. Holtman did not bring any Butler players with him to the podium after the game.
“Give Central Arkansas credit. I think they did a lot of things that bothered us. I don’t think we played very well in stretches, I don’t think we prepared very well. That concerned me the last couple of days. I don’t think we practiced well. Ultimately that’s on me. That’s my fault. You can come up with a couple of different explanations for (our performance), I just don’t ever want to see it again,” Holtman said.
The Bulldogs looked impressive in the box score on Saturday. Butler scored 24 points off 16 Central Arkansas turnovers. The Bulldogs scored nearly half their points down low, finishing with 32 in the paint. Butler capitalized on 10 offensive rebounds by finishing the game with 16 second-chance points. One of the few compliments Holtman did give to his team was its ability to share the basketball and create opportunities. Butler’s offense relied on good ball movement as 22 of its 31 field goals came by way of an assist.
Butler played a good first half and went into halftime up by 12 points. The Bulldogs had their fair share of hiccups in the first half, turning the ball over a couple times and missing a few free throws. But the source of Holtman’s frustration with his squad’s performance came in the second half, when it looked as if the Bears were going to give the Bulldogs a fight halfway through the final 20 minutes. Butler was forced to call a timeout with about 12 minutes remaining in the game due to Central Arkansas (1-7) cutting the deficit to just eight points.
Following the timeout, Butler willed a 17-2 run to stretch the lead to 74-51. Butler opened up its run in the midst of a scoring drought for Central Arkansas. The Bears didn’t make a field goal for nearly 7 minutes, shooting 1 of 9. Central Arkansas’ only two points during that time came by way of free throws.
The Bulldogs’ largest lead of the game was a product of their second-half-scoring run, pulling ahead by 25 points.
“We are at our best when we understand our margin for error is very, very small and we have an understanding there’s an expectation and a standard of how we want to play. I think we did that at times today, but not nearly as much as we need to. We’re going to have to play better – much better – than what we did,” Holtman said.
Jordan Howard led Central Arkansas with 20 points and Derreck Brooks finished with 15.
The road game was a measuring stick for Central Arkansas. The Bears used Saturday’s game against a quality opponent as a foundation to work from for the rest of the season.
“We’re trying to measure ourselves against really good teams and get better,” Central Arkansas coach Russ Pennell said. “When we play teams like Butler, and we’re going to be playing Michigan soon, it’s a chance to measure ourselves and our (players).”
With a big win over No. 8 Arizona, the undefeated Bulldogs are generating a buzz. Butler will face five more opponents, including Cincinnati and No. 13 Indiana, before it opens conference play at St. John’s on Dec. 29.
POLL IMPLICATIONS: The Bulldogs’ next big test against a ranked opponent will come on Dec. 17 when they face No. 13 Indiana in the Crossroads Classic at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis
Central Arkansas visits Arkansas-Little Rock on Saturday
Butler visits Indiana State on Wednesday
No. 8 Gonzaga jumped out to a 23-9 lead and held on as No. 16 Arizona rallied down the stretch, beating the Wildcats 69-62 in Los Angeles on Sunday night.
The Bulldogs got 18 points and a pair of blocks from 7-foot-1 center Przemek Karnowski’s whose impact on this game cannot be measured by the box score. Karnowski is an unbelievable passer out of the post, but he’s also a terrific scorer that almost has to be double-teamed. And when that double-team comes, the ball is out of his hands and into the hands of an open teammate.
The big man is also a force on the defensive end of the floor, where his size allows him to take up space in the lane and his length causes all kinds of problems for players trying to finish in the paint.
That’s worth noting because he isn’t anywhere near to being the most-heralded player on that roster. That title probably goes to Nigel Williams-Goss, who was all-Pac 12 at Washington. Or Jordan Mathews, who averaged 13 points the last two seasons at Cal. Johnathan Williams III was a top 50 prospect. Zach Collins was a McDonald’s All-American. Josh Perkins was recruited by Kentucky.
Point being, this is a very good Gonzaga team, one with talent and depth.
And Karnowski is as important as anyone on the roster.
It’s also worth noting here that Arizona put up an impressive fight for a team playing with seven guys right now. Parker Jackson-Cartwright sprained his ankle Wednesday night. Allonzo Trier still isn’t playing. And the Wildcats fought back from 14 points down in the first eight minutes to make this a game down the stretch.
Arizona has a lot of issues right now.
But there’s still talent on this roster and this is still a team of kids that are going to battle every time they take the floor.